Scandinavia House presents a special discussion with the Cullberg Ballet in relation to the guest performances of “Figure A Sea” by Deborah Hay and Laurie Anderson for the Cullberg Ballet at Montclair University.

To relate to one’s legacy and to define that relation is an inevitable question for every dance company with a long history and a groundbreaking founder. That is not different for the Swedish company Cullberg Ballet nor for, for example, the the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. The answer to that question seems merely a matter of decision making. More difficult is it to answer the question: “What are the reasons to keep a legacy, the complete oeuvre of choreographies of the company’s founder, alive?” In what form should we keep dance works alive?  Is it enough to have digitalized versions of the videos and films? Or do we need to restage the original choreographies from time to time? Are the dancers’ archives, i.e. the knowledge residing inside their bodies, part of the legacy too?

Another burning question in this context is: “How does that legacy relate to the work that the current contemporary company is developing and presenting ?” Do we need the historical frame to define our contemporary explorations? Is it necessary to detect a red thread in the history of the company to set out the artistic direction for the future?

And last, but not least, when does contemporary movement become a tradition?  When do we start to take care of the repertoire of the avant garde?

In this panel discussion choreographers, dancers, and the director of Sweden’s Cullberg Ballet discuss the preservation and transferal of dance, addressing such questions as: When does contemporary movement become a tradition? How are approaches and practices transferred from one generation to the next? How to we relate to the heritage and legacy of movement?

These and other questions regarding repertoire, tradition and building a canon of iconic dance works will be addressed in a panel discussion with:

Jed Wheeler, Executive Director for Arts and Cultural Programming, Montclair University

Gabriel Smeets, artistic director of Cullberg Ballet, Stockholm, Sweden
Nancy Dalva, Merce Cunningham Trust Scholar in Residence/Dance Ink, New York
André Lepecki, Associate Professor, Dept of Performance Studies, Tisch School of the Arts, NYU, new York
Iréne Hultman, dancer, choreographer and scholar, New York

Moderator: Magnus Nordberg, General manager Nordberg Movement, Stockholm, Sweden

About Cullberg Ballet

Cullberg Ballet (Cullbergbaletten) has performed all over the world and tours throughout Sweden. The company collaborates with a variety of national and international choreographers and performing artists who create works for large as well as small stages. Cullberg Ballet’s activities encompass projects and productions including site specific appearances and collaboration with dance training programs.

Cullberg Ballet was founded by Birgit Cullberg in 1967 under the auspices of Riksteatern. The company currently has sixteen dancers from nearly as many countries. Since its inception, the stage personalities and technical strength of its dancers have been Cullberg Ballet’s defining characteristics. Cullberg Ballet is part of Riksteatern, Sweden’s National Touring Theatre.



Image by Urban Jörén

MON—10-10-2016—5:30 PM